Thawing (153)

I felt like writing tonight, but I didn’t know which word I was going to choose or what to write about, just that I wanted to. In my very long list of words this one kind of stood out. Thawing feels like what is going on in my relationship with my mum lately.  Lately I’ve been full of rage, the part of me that holds all of the violence and anger has been in charge, with no care about who I hurt or what I say – she’s been completely spinning. One of the things she’s been completely pissed about is how my mum has been lately, and frankly, has always been. And, to add to that, how the rest of my family has been…my dad, my brother, my other brother.

It’s been two years since my mum asked me if anything happened with my brother, and she came out with “I know he tried it on with you once”. Two whole years and it took until about 3 months ago, when I told her I was going on anti-depressants for her to actually decide she cared.

My relationship with my mum has never been particularly good, and in the last several years its been pretty bloody crap. She’s thrown around a lot of comments about how selfish I am, how ungrateful I am, as well as how wonderful my brother is and how lucky I am to have a brother like him. (Which feels 100% worse knowing that she did in fact know about what he did to me – I always thought she did, but I always quashed those thoughts, telling myself that it just couldn’t be true that she knew and did nothing.) The boys were always my mums, and I was always my dads. I clung to him when he was home and I adored him. As for my mum, our relationship at times felt more like housemates than mother and daughter. Living in and occupying the same space, but not connecting emotionally like you would expect a mother and daughter to.

But then, for some reason, 3 months ago things started to improve. Our icy relationship is thawing. I don’t know whether it is because these anti-depressants are working for me so I’m feeling more patient and understanding towards her – less like I want to kill her every time I look at her which is pretty much what it was like, or whether it took my mentioning anti-depressants for her to finally clue into the fact that what he did to me did damage, and that I am not okay, and that somehow triggered some mothering instinct in her. Maybe it’s a combination of the both, I reckon so.

So, things have been thawing, our relationship is definitely improving. But then, when she places a text from my brother into my hands, saying to me that I need to tell her how I want her to respond (the text basically calling her out on how she’s been with him lately (not as warm and friendly), she then basically tells me what she wants me to say to her. Basically twisting it, so that I agree that she can do what she wants – keep the silence and secrets, and not risk her precious son. If I say something he may never come back. What if I say something and then he does something stupid like kills himself. He’ll only deny it so what is the point. What if it ruins his relationship with his fiancee, I don’t want to hurt her. etc etc etc.

So yeah, I’ve been fucking mad about all of it. My therapist dumped me, my dad refuses to even acknowledge it, pretending that nothing happened, my eldest brother still acts like he’s gods gift even though, oh yeah, he raped me for years, my middle brother returned after about 5 years of no contact and told me he missed me the most, and my mum is pretending to put me first when in reality it’s all about her, as ever.

Meanwhile, I’ve been wanting to just be dead. I’ve been struggling to keep myself alive. My body has been feeling terrible, and I am writing this with yet another migraine that I’m feeling nauseous with too. Ugh.

Therapy (152) Pt II

It feels like there could be a lot of parts to this one…heck we could probably turn it into a book between the two of us.  I’m only in my mid twenties, I’m young, and I’ve no doubt got decades of on and off therapy ahead of me, but I want to start this post off with remembering a bit about where this therapy stuff started.

So I come from the kind of family where the idea of therapy and talking to someone is entirely ridiculous. The silly phrase that actually pops into my head on a pretty regular basis about this and stuff like this is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Vernon Dudley’s sister in the film says good. i wont have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about not beating people who deserve it. It just sums up entirely how my parents are about emotions and feelings and talking about them – basically, you don’t. That’s for weaklings, for pathetic people, people to be mocked. I won’t have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about talking about feelings. And so of course the idea of therapy was totally ridiculous to me.

But I went to university…I felt isolated by the fact that I never wanted to have sex and I was terrified of relationships, as well as simply men a lot of the time. One of my housemates was talking to me about a friend on her course who was struggling with anorexia and was seeing a counsellor at the uni about it. And that kind of sparked the idea in my head. I think I was already on a forum just before that (I didn’t get on well there – it wasn’t where I met pocketcanadian), and I had read about plenty of people being in therapy, I just had never thought that maybe I could even have that.

So I looked into it, and I started with emailing a woman called B. It was too terrifying to see somebody face to face. It started by having to fill out a questionnaire to assess me – hilariously looking at it now her response was the good news is your risk factors registered as zero and your functioning was well within the range we’d want it to be! Hmmm, don’t think I was completely honest in that first questionnaire. She asked me to tell her a little bit about what I wanted us to work on and I said okay, so when I was about 7-8 I was sexually abused on and off for a year or two. I’ve always considered that I’d gotten over it but I can never seem to get into a relationship with someone – it’s like I just automatically say no even if I want to. [a little bit about how I had read about counselling in a book and just thought I’d try it]. I think that’s about it. Thanks, pocketbrit

It seems comical to me now rereading that. Oh well i was sexually abused (and make it out to be shorter than it was) but I don’t know what my problem is, think that’s about it. cheers, bye. *eyeroll*. B emailed me back, told me I was brave and asked me to share some more. I built up trust with her, aided by the fact that it was behind a screen and not face to face. Rereading the emails now I feel a mixture of sadness at how I was struggling but not wanting to admit it, pride that I gave it a go and found the courage to reach out and begin to speak about these things, and also a bit ashamed of how young I sound. It was a good few years ago now, but I sound so young and naive, and then that brings me back around to sad, because I was so sure I was making a big deal out of nothing, so sure I didn’t deserve this woman’s time. She didn’t have any experience in trauma, she was a counsellor rather than a therapist, but she listened, and she was gentle and kind. She was exactly the introduction into it that I needed.  There was a bit she wrote that I used to reread a lot – you are not the problem here, all families are systems and yours hasn’t worked for you. While I’m sure your parents did the best they could at the time and this is in no way meant as a criticism of them, something made them consciously or unconsciously turn a blind eye and it is in that darkness that abuse happens. You are not in the dark anymore, nor should it follow you around like a shadow. I don’t know why but I felt her and I believed her, and I hung onto it like an anchor at the time. She suggested we meet in person and I did, and then she mentioned that the head of counselling did EMDR and that she wondered if I would be able to give it a go, the extra scary part being that he was a man (though a kind and gentle small Irishman, as she put it). I freaked out and said no, and then came around to the idea.

Seeing A for EMDR was terrifying. I’m proud of myself for going and trying. I don’t think it really helped – I refused to tell him any details to begin, and was only just beginning to open up and trust him as our time was coming to an end. But I began to really like him. She was right, he was gentle and kind, and quite fatherly. He didn’t push me but also wasn’t scared or shocked when I did tell him bits. He was steady, never wavered. What seeing him really did was build up my confidence. He really tried to impress on me that I should make sure that if I went to therapy in the future I saw a trauma specialist. That’s what he was, a senior accredited with personal interest in trauma. I kind of wish I could have carried on seeing him, but I wasn’t living there anymore, and even if I was I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it.

So then I didn’t see anyone for a bit. But I went back to uni (a different city) to do a postgrad, and looked up their wellbeing services. I started seeing a young woman there – no counselling or therapy experience, but a fun woman, a good listener that I just really liked. She was a good listener and kind, even though I was a pain in the arse and spent most of my time staring at the clock not knowing what to say. Sometimes we would draw or play gamed, not even really talk. She was not helpful for the trauma, but very helpful for the loneliness, for having somebody.

And then we come to sonja and today. And I’m going to leave that for Therapy Pt III I think – that’s more than enough nonsense from me for tonight…

Back to the Blog

Neither pocketcanadian nor I have been consistently here in forever. We keep saying to each other how we do actually want to finish these daily words, but for me at least, finding the energy to write about some of these words is difficult – knowing how much there is to say, and wanting to do it justice. I’m going to try to make a commitment to myself to come back here and write again, finish these words off. (And the terrible reality is that I actually have 202 words of the 365 still to do – I didn’t even manage to do half of them.) But rather than an unseen word a day, I’ll just be choosing between the words, whichever I feel like writing about that day. And it won’t be one a day…I’m going to aim for one a week as a minimum, and hope that there are more than that some weeks.

So I hope we haven’t lost the couple of people that actually read our words, though it would be understandable if we had. Any of you out there and reading this, thank you – I hope you’re doing okay, xo.

Therapy pt 1

Dear sonja

As much as I wish I could write all good things, what I’m feeling right now is all of the bad. And to be clear, by bad, I mean absolutely fucking terrible. I oscillate between wishing you were dead (and yes, I know how awful that makes me), and wishing you would take me in as your own and welcome me back with open arms and hugs and ample words of reassurance.

You see I don’t understand any of it. I don’t understand how it happened, I don’t understand how it’s okay for you to have done that, I don’t understand what I did wrong, I don’t understand why you abandoned me and I really don’t understand why you are treating me like I’m some dangerous criminal.

Do you know that I’ve been making a scarf that I started knitting for you? Do you know that I’ve had a design idea for a necklace to make you going around and around in my head for months, that I intended to make and give to you for christmas? I don’t know where this all went wrong. I really don’t know where this all went wrong.

I like to think that you’re nothing to me, that you never were anything to me. That I never needed you and never cared for you. That I couldn’t care less about your dog that used to cuddle me on your sofa, or your cat that I got to know as a kitten. I need to pretend that you are nothing to me. That I don’t care whether you still exist, whether you are still practicing, what your kid is up to, whether you ever think of me.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand how despite knowing my core wounds, all the attachment shit, you could do what you did. I don’t understand how you abandoned me. And worse, I don’t understand how you treated me as though I was a criminal, refusing final sessions, refusing to have any more contact with me.

You made me feel like I was the worst of the worst. Like I should be put down. Like I didn’t deserve to call myself a human. That I used and abused people. That I am just like him.

I am not like him. I am nothing like him. Whether I was too much for you because of your own wounds, or whether I was too much for you because of my stuff, because of being little and upset and needy, I don’t know. But I am not an abuser. I am not like him. And I cannot begin to tell you the damage you have caused by treating me like I’m even worse than the rapist that I came to you because of in the first place.

I want to be dead. I am struggling every single day with the will to stay alive. I just wish that when I went to bed at night, I would never wake up in the morning.

I hate you. I know that is childish and harsh and likely cruel to say, but I hate you. I hate what you have done to me. I hate the pain you have caused me, knowing exactly how it would. I hate how I mean nothing to you. I hate how you can simply erase me from your life, but I can never erase you from mine.

I feel worthless. Even the one person that I pay to be there for me abandons me and treats me like the disgusting whore I have grown up being told that I am.

I have nobody. Nobody at all. Not even somebody that I pay to be by my side.

Why bother living?

Fuck all of it,

Pocketbrit.

Huge (365)

This was a huge task we undertook in trying to do this blog, every single day for 365 days. And safe to say we haven’t completed it, not even close, but we also haven’t failed… Not in my opinion at least.

We thought we could do it because we said that we wouldn’t have to write much at all if we didn’t want to or couldn’t that day… A simple “I can’t do this one today, sorry folks”, or a one liner about the word of the day. No big obligation for a long or interesting post… Just a response. Any response.

I think we overlooked something pretty vital in that… Pocketcanadians and my nature. We don’t tend to do things feebly. We don’t want to give short meaningless responses to words that aren’t meaningless to us. And I’m actually saying this without checking it with her, but I think (maybe, pc?) that the same goes for her.

There’s something about a word coming up and feeling unable to write all of the things that are floating around in your head, and then not wanting to write a rubbish couple-of-sentences response, because then it feels like you’re passing that word by. There are words on here that are so difficult… Family members, grief, attachment, therapy… Not to mention to seemingly innocuous ones for each of us (persistent, for myself springs to mind. I once got very upset with pocketcanadian for using this word to describe me).

I want to finish all of these words. And I want to properly respond to all of the ones that invoke a reaction in me. I don’t want to pass a word by with a sarcastic or silly comment because I couldn’t handle it that day.

And I know that pocketcanadian wants to finish these words too.

So, I don’t know how it will look right now… Whether we’ll manage to reshuffle the words we haven’t done and again have it as a surprise word… Maybe this time as a word a week rather than a word a day. Or maybe we’ll just do it as and when we can and forget about coordinating our responses.

I don’t know what its going to look like, but I know that neither of us are done with these words just yet, even though we’ve been entirely rubbish at them the last several months. It was a huge task, a word a day, and I’m still proud of what we made with this space, that anybody at all followed us and sometimes read along. (thank you all of you who did that). And I’m ready for another year of trying to write things out of my head and into this space…

Raise (324)

Okay I kept thinking of the odd weird phrase…. “I take your five smarties and I raise you five smarties and 1 strawberry lace” (yes this is how you play cards)….”raise the roof”… I don’t even know what other weird sayings.

Then I just looked at this ridiculous word that for some reason one of us chose, and ironically raised my eyebrow. Or at least, I felt like I was raising my eyebrow, my eyebrows don’t like to work independently.

Receptive (323)

Safe to say, I am absolutely not a receptive person. Actually, perhaps that isn’t quite accurate – I’m absolutely not a receptive person when it comes to suggestions regarding myself. I am not receptive to things that could be done to “improve” the way I do things. Every suggestion feels like a slight, like a comment on what is wrong with me. It is taken on board as something to prove all of those voices that tell me I am inherently wrong because of X, Y and Z. And queue the instant shame. This of course isn’t something that I am happy with and want to maintain. I don’t think it would go down too well with future employers if I wrote I am a very receptive person provided the suggestions for improvement are not regarding myself. I suspect this is part of my trauma….the monumental shame, the way that a simple suggestion of something that might make something better/easier turns into a personal slight. A this is why you’re awful, see nobody likes you, nobody wants you here, you’re just wrong down to your core.  A spiral that happens fairly regularly actually, about all sorts of things.

The first thing that I thought of when I saw today’s word was being receptive to help. I’ve had the first therapy session after a 3 week break, and I finally went back and was receptive to the idea of seeking other outside help. Not wholly receptive – it’s totally making me panic tonight, and yet it’s an option. I’ve allowed it to be an option that we are going to look into. But for reference, this option was suggested to me over a month ago, and when it was I got extremely angry about it, rejected it, refused help, and was full of loud mixed feelings. I refused to even think about the possibility of accepting help. No effing way. Somebody internally screaming THIS IS NOT SAFE. THIS IS NOT SAFE. THIS IS NOT SAFE. Yes, that loud, and yes, with that much panic. It was a week or two full of panic.

I’m generally not receptive to anything ‘good’. It is a part of being closed off and holding myself in tight and staying safe. It took me a long time to come around to the idea of therapy or seeing somebody to talk to. A lot of calming parts that wanted to blare a red siren because our safety was being compromised by allowing somebody else into our world. And part of my attachment hurts mean that this crops up frequently. I haven’t actually had normal once a week on the designated day therapy with my therapist for several months. As soon as we get back into the swing of a couple of good sessions something goes wrong inside and I panic and it becomes unsafe. I spiral into this isn’t safe, she doesn’t care, who are you kidding, she wouldn’t care if you were even alive, she thinks you’re an idiot, she thinks you are making a big deal out of nothing, who the hell are you kidding?! And so hey presto, get ready for a session (or the next 4) of being closed off, refusing to talk, getting really angry and refusing to be receptive to care or help. Its not a fun cycle.

Something that is extra making me panic tonight about receiving outside help is that it will be free – on the NHS. And I don’t like that because that makes it feel all the more unsafe. I don’t know exactly why, maybe because it feels like they won’t be as conscious of confidentiality, maybe because they will be more likely to be annoyed and think that I’m there for no reason and that I’m making a big deal out of nothing. ugh.